After nearly four weeks of campaigning, the results of the University of Toronto Governing Council elections are out.
Governing Council is the highest decision-making body at U of T. Of the 50 seats, eight are allocated to students.
A total of 29 candidates ran for the two Constituency I seats, positions reserved for full-time students in the Faculty of Arts & Science, UTM, and UTSC. UTM student Mohammad Amin and New College student Bingchen Tony Shan emerged victorious, receiving 997 votes and 678 votes respectively — well ahead of the other candidates.
Amin proposed increasing student representation on Governing Council and pledged to have monthly meetings at UTM. In addition, Amin wants to bring a co-op program to UTM. Currently, the only campus that offers a co-op program is UTSC.
Shan’s platform consisted of reducing tuition, increasing scholarship opportunities, bringing in more research and other academic activities, and improving the quality of food on campus.
Two Governing Council members represent full-time professional faculty students from Constituency II. Law student Aidan Fishman, who received 142 votes, and Jorge May, who received 93 votes, were elected to fulfill these roles.
Fishman, who won by a margin of seven votes, served on Governing Council for Constituency I during the 2012-2013 year and the 2013-2014 year, when he was an international relations student at Trinity College.
“I feel very happy about my victory,” Fishman told The Varsity. “It was a close race, and I know that my competitors and I worked hard to get students from faculties that typically are somewhat removed from student politics.”
Fishman wants to reform the constituency system for Governing Council elections, allow students to opt out of Hart House and Athletic Centre ancillary fees, and ensure the recommendations from the Students’ Society Summit be implemented.
May said that he was “ecstatic” at his victory. “It’s high time that someone from a smaller faculty such as Music has the opportunity to represent and advocate for the needs of professional faculty students and push for real change on campus,” he told The Varsity. He plans to advocate for building repair and maintenance and reducing bureaucracy.
“Many students are unhappy with the fact that our university administration [takes] so long to respond to critical issues [affecting] students — I hope to speed the process up,” May said. He is looking forward to representing his constituency and working to bridge the gaps between different areas of the university community.
Trinity College student Susan Froom is returning to Governing Council after she served a term from 2014–2015 as a representative for part-time undergraduates. ECE student Billy Graydon will be joining Froom, while Alex Nyikos from the Munk School of Global Affairs and Christine Moon from the Faculty of Medicine will take over the two seats representing graduate students.
This election was the first in which non-Canadian citizens were eligible to run for Governing Council after the University of Toronto Act was amended by the province. The new governors will assume office on July 1, 2016.
Correction (March 1st, 2016): An earlier version of this article misspelled Mohammad Amin.